Kids Watch Their Dad's Suicide on YouTube

Say What!? 74

computer onlineAnother day, another frivolous lawsuit. Only the mom suing the Fox News Channel for airing footage of her husband's suicide that upset her children doesn't come across as your average money-hungry American. She sounds like a woman who is having a rough time, a mom who is protecting her kids.

Sadly, suing a TV news channel is too little, too late. Because JoDon Romero's kids didn't see his suicide on a television at all.

They saw it on YouTube.

Which, last I checked, is something that falls under a parent's purview ...

According to the lawsuit, Fox broadcast a police chase involving the father of three live, without a delay, during Studio B With Shepard Smith. They caught the moment when Romero got out of his car and shot himself.

More From The Stir: School Erases Suicide Victim From Yearbook As If He Never Existed

Soon, the video made the Internet, and Romero's kids caught wind of it at their high school. Unfortunately, the talk of a live suicide video didn't include names. So the Romero kids went home and all three -- ages 15, 13, and 9 -- sat down to watch.

I think we can all imagine what that was like for those poor kids, what every day since has been like for them.

I came thisclose to seeing a dear friend's body after he took his life, and more than a decade later, I can still remember every moment of that day. And I was an adult, he wasn't my father.

Their trauma is 10 times mine ... at least.

But while I feel for the family, I have trouble supporting a lawsuit against a TV station for something that really comes down to parenting.

She let her kids have unfettered access to YouTube, and she wants a TV network to pay for that?

Sorry, but being a sympathetic victim doesn't make you right.

The kids ARE probably traumatized by this unfortunate incident, but after the network aired the suicide, it was Mom's job to keep her kids away from it. No doubt she was busy -- her husband did just die -- but even busy parents need to be parents.

And when we fall down on the job, we have to suck it up and accept that it's our own faults -- not the rest of the world's.

When our kids run into things on the Internet that they went looking for, on purpose, while we weren't looking, that isn't someone else's fault. That's ours. Ours for not policing their Internet use or at least having a good long talk about what they SHOULD and should not be doing on the Internet.

I do feel bad for the Romero kids. They just lost their dad and in one of the most tragic of ways. But this lawsuit should fail, and its failure should send a very loud message to parents who don't bother to check up on their kids on the web.

There's a wild world out there that your kids can log on to. It's up to you to protect them.

What do you make of this lawsuit? Is it the network's fault or mom's?


Image via espensorvik/Flickr

issues, safety


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LostS... LostSoul88

It's no one's fault. The news station was doing their job, and the mother can not control what their kids watch on youtube at school at a friends or a relatives. She can not control what is put on TV. The kids could have easily saw it on the news. How dare you place blame on the mother. Is she suppose to hover over her kids 24/7?  Is she suppose to not allow them access to the outside world? Those kids could have watched it at a friends house, a tv somewhere else, anywhere. Whaat if she was at work? Is she suppose to quit her job to protect them from the truth?The mother is not to blame for her kids wanting to look it up themselves. 2 of which are old enough to know what they were about to see.

She is suing the wrong people and I do think she's doing it out of grievance and not for the money. 

KacieLu KacieLu

How showing anyone's suicide our death on tv a good thing? I am not sure that a legal solution is the right one, but knowing the main was able to watch her husband's death is horrific. And Fox should make sure it doesn't happen again.

nonmember avatar Katie

Fox News most certainly did something wrong. TV stations generally do not report on suicides unless it is a high profile case and definitely should not broadcast a live suicide. The FCC has laws for stations that require live coverage to have a 5 second delay. This delay is used to edit bad language or in this case should have been used to cut away from the horrific scene. Fox released a statement saying that due to human error, they were not broadcasting on a 5 second delay. They are in violation of the law. If they hadn't broadcast this footage, it would never have made it to YouTube. The mother could sue Fox News even if the children did not see the video.

Television stations have the responsibility to follow the rules of the FCC.

Rache... RachelsMercy

They were following a police chace with the helicopter which is standard procedure with a high speed chase, they had NO clue he was going to do that and they shut the camera off immediatley when he shot himself. WTF are kids that age doing searching out a suicide video in the first place? That is disturbing to me, and while it's sad they lost their father, he was a CRIMINAL who KILLED himself, leaving his kids fatherless forever, because he didn't want to go to jail. Those kids need counseling, but not just for seeing the video. They need counseling to find out why they WANTED to watch a suicide video in the FIRST place.

nonmember avatar Steph

I agree with Katie. Fox should have been on a delay and I believe even Shepard Smith, rightly shocked and horrified, said that himself. If it wasn't for them airing the video, it never would have been on YouTube for anyone to see. I feel bad for this family and...well I never feel bad for Fox News. They did something wrong and should pay the price. It's not like they can't afford it and it's not a frivolous case.

nonmember avatar J

I agree with Katie 100%. They did admit to human ERROR and they were in violation of the law by not operating on a 5 second delay. They had no way of knowing he was going to comit suicide BUT that's why they operate on a delay so that the can keep those unpredictable instances off the air. And give me a break RachelsMercy, they need counseling because they wanted to look up a video EVERYONE at their school had seen and was talking about? How about counseling for ALL the kids who looked it up, saw it and were talking about it and telling others to look it up? It's called childhood curiosity. It doesn't make the kids bad kids.

nonmember avatar Meghan

I definitely think the news station was in the wrong. Yeah, I get that they couldn't help filming the suicide because they didn't know it was going to happen, but it never should have been aired. If it hadn't been aired, the footage never would have been available for YouTube in the first place. Also... Blaming the mom for not monitoring her childrens' computer use is ridiculous. I didn't even think things like that were ALLOWED on YouTube.

mesha... meshawmama

I think it was wrong that this was put on Youtube without permission or warning to the family first.  But when it really comes down to it, it ultimately is the Mom's fault that the kids were allowed to view things like this on the internet.  I don't think sueing is right. 

nonmember avatar Mel

How many moms out there monitor every second of their teenagers youtube usage?? Come on...that's ridiculous.

Faith Wyatt

Totally agree with Katie. Even if the kids hadn't seen it, it was still wrong to have allowed that to be on TV. It was totally irresponsible of Fox News and they should be held responsible. 

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